Ricardo hosts rail industry Hackathon

Ricardo hosts rail industry Hackathon
04 December 2017

Ricardo's Centenary Centre in Shoreham was one of the host locations for this year's HackTrain event during the weekend of November 24-26th.

Participants - which included developers, designers, entrepreneurs and policy makers - spent the weekend taking on various coding assignments set by the UK rail industry.

Ricardo's Alex Bishop, who took part in the challenge, reports back:

"The ‘hacking’ involved creating programmes for various problems that were presented at the start of the event. So, it was hacking in the more traditional sense of ‘hacking’ together computer code, rather than trying to find vulnerabilities in software systems."

The event was based around three key themes which the participants were asked to focus on:

  • Policy & Performance
  • Infrastructure and Cyber Security Customer Experience 
  • Rolling Stock

"On the Friday evening, we were divided into three groups and each group was allocated a task related to one of the themes. We then set off by train from London to the various host locations in the UK and in continental Europe that were provided by HackTrain's supporting organisations. These were workspaces like the Ricardo Centenary Centre in Shoreham (pictured), where the groups could start to break-down the task and begin developing and testing their ideas."

"The group I was in created a proof of concept for a way of railway assets to verify with each other that they are correctly configured using encryption techniques. This was in response to Network Rail's challenge of ‘how can we assure that the railway is secure?’.

"We spent the weekend working on our solution. The end result was a functioning program which we demonstrated in a six-minute presentation on Sunday afternoon, once all the groups had returned to London to present their results".

"It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience - hard work, but also a lot of fun - and a great opportunity to work with people from a range of backgrounds to explore come very conventional challenges."

Images courtesy of HackTrain.

For more information about HackTrain's Hackathon 4.0: http://hacktrain.com/hackathon/